The anticipation in the air is palpable. The fall colors are in full bloom, and I am harvesting the last straggly tomatoes and sweet potatoes from the garden. This past spring, a pair of Cooper’s hawks raised a nest of young in an old pine snag near the pond. Now they are fledged. Their seemingly endless bouts of circling and calling, calling and circling fill me with a feeling of foreboding. When I wake up, their call is the first thing I hear outside my window. They are up with the autumn dawn exerting their dominance over the radius of their powerful view.
The dandelions have all melted back into the earth, and the groundhogs are packing their cheeks with the last few remnants they can scavenge from the salad bowl of the pasture and lawn. It won’t be long until they disappear into their burrows for the winter. I love seeing them munching on the green grass in the sunshine. When they emerge in the spring, they most likely will be toting several baby groundhogs in tow. So there is that to look forward to.
|A photo my son Duncan took of a red-tailed hawk at Emory
A doe and her fawn got a late start this year. He was still sporting his baby spots into the late summer. They pass out of the woods almost every day for a drink at the pond and to browse the carpet of wildflower and rye under the black walnut trees on the hill. The fawn seems too small still to face the winter ahead. If he survives the cold, he will have the hunting season to contend with in the spring. I hope they stay here, on this land that they and I belong to, where they will be safe.
Then there are the busy squirrels. The mother lode of walnuts has just tumbled down to the earth, but within a few weeks, they will have all been carted off and buried in remembered and forgotten places. The squirrels never rest. Even in the winter they will take the mild days to review their inventory of nuts. It is for them that the hawks circle.
Nuts, squirrels, hawks, grass, groundhog and doe, and so it goes.